Trigger Point Therapy
You know that annoying tension in your shoulders where it feels like there is a golf ball in your muscles? Thats a trigger point.
A trigger point (aka muscle knot) is a hyper irritable spot, a palpable lump or knot in the taut bands of skeletal muscle. Pressing on the spot or contracting the muscles may cause a jump sign, local tenderness, a twitch response of the muscle and/or referral of pain away from the spot. For example, when pressing on a trigger point in the upper traps you may feel it into your head or down your arm! It is a characteristic response to pressure on a trigger point, due to the tenderness it may cause you to involuntarily jump or jerk!
What Causes Trigger Points?
Most trigger points develop in the myofascia, mainly in the centre of a muscle belly where the motor endplate enters (connection of nerve to muscle fibre).
- Lack of exercises
- Bad posture (hunching and rounding of the upper back)
- Muscle overuse (exercising, manual labour, repeated movements)
- Chronic stress
- Poor sleep or sleep disturbances
Although there are several theories on what causes trigger point pain the current research works on the integrated trigger point hypothesis. This theory suggests the muscle fibres and motor end plate become overactive due to one of several reasons. This leads to the muscle fibre unit becoming permanently switched on leading to a local inflammatory response, loss of oxygen and nutrient supply, shortening of the muscle fibres and increased metabolic demand on the local tissue.
Trigger Point Muscle Symptoms
You may have chronic symptoms away from the active trigger point, like head aches, general body aches, morning stiffness, jaw pain etc depending on the location of the trigger point.
- Muscle weakness or imbalance and an altered ability to recruit the muscles
- Reduced range of motion
- Painful movement or certain movements that exacerbate your pain
- Tension headaches, migraines, ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Postural abnormalities or compensations
How Trained Physio Can Help!
- Trigger point or ischemic compression technique where a sustained pressure is applied with the aim of freeing the contracted sarcomeres
- Dry needling
- Posture training and education about posture and lifestyle factors leading to the trigger points
- Taping, stretching, trigger point ball or foam rolling may be used early on
East Perth Trained Physio
Physiotherapy has several goals including promote healing, reduce pain, avoiding aggravation, optimising physical function and global strengthening to restore normal movement patterns. To see how I can help you BOOK ONLINE TODAY